Cadmium accumulation by a Citrobacter sp. growing in the presence of the metal occurred as a sharp peak during the mid-exponential phase of growth, but cultures showed considerable inhibition of growth compared to cadmium-free controls. This problem was overcome by pregrowing the cells in cadmium-free medium and subsequently exposing them to the metal in the resting state, under which conditions higher concentrations of cadmium were tolerated and metal uptake was enhanced. This ability was retained when the cells were immobilized and then challenged with a flow containing Cd2+; 65% of the metal presented was removed from solution. The influence on uptake of the composition of the exposure buffer and of various cell treatments were investigated and the results are discussed with respect to the anticipated speciation of the cadmium presented to the cells and also with respect to the probable mechanism of metal uptake. This is thought to occur through the activity of a cell-bound phosphatase, induced during pre-growth by the provision of glycerol 2-phosphate as sole phosphorus source. Continued enzyme function in resting cells would then precipitate the metal as cell-bound cadmium phosphate.